Kids are notorious for being picky eaters, but there's another kind of eater who's just as fussy: the picky adult. Despite fewer histrionics, the picky adult can be just as stubborn as the picky kid. One has to wonder: Are picky eaters perversely choosy, or do they honestly dislike a greater number of foods than the average person? With the help of food writer Melissa Clark, who has penned 18 cookbooks with star chefs like Daniel Boulud and David Bouley, F&W decided to get to the bottom of this.
First, we selected a panel of eight tasters, who ranged in age and pickiness. Our pickiest eaters were by far the most vocal. "I can look at a food and know I won't like it right away," declared Shanna Henry Phillips, age seven. Ethan Moszkowski, nine, agreed on the importance of appearance: He hates orange foods. Chris J. Callahan, 26, co-founder of AlmanacMagazine.com, just might be the pickiest eater we know. "Adventurous for me would be trying a grape," he said (the only fruit he has ever eaten is an apple). Karen Naber, 39, a financial analyst, likes only "the very basic," which means "no olives, peppers, onions or anchovies."
Among our more adventurous eaters was Sylvie Palmer, seven, who has her mom, F&W's editor-in-chief Dana Cowin, to thank for introducing her to esoterica like beef tongue and cheek. Dale Saferstein, nine, adores shellfish like steamers and mussels. Simon Andrews, 34, a food stylist, has eaten braised lung in New York City's Chinatown. Megnut.com blogger Meg Hourihan credits her adventurous palate to her family's "no thank you portion," a rule stipulating that there could be no outright refusals at the dinner table. Blubber is next on her list of foods to try.